Is there a hot tub 101 thread?

QuiltinMom

Platinum Supporter
Mar 24, 2013
197
Central Iowa
I have searched and I am not finding what I am looking for.

Is there a hot tub 101 thread that talks about setting up a used hot tub for the first time? Like suggestions for wiring and SWG set up? Somewhere I read that if you do the ControlOMatic SWG that it has to be protected from freezing temperatures. How are people dealing with that? I see some are installing it inside the frame of the hot tub, but is that enough in Iowa? We get some pretty serious temperature swings.

We are going to be getting rid of the pool in my signature. We picked up a free SunDance hot tub. I do not know what model it is, but it is a 7 seater and is about 7.5'x7.5'. It is around 10 years old, possibly. The guy we got it from had a salt system on it, but he kept it for his next hot tub. I am planning on purchasing a ControlOMatic Smarter Spa to install. We still need to install a cement slab and do the wiring (hubby is a general contractor and has a good friend that is an electrician). I just need to know how to figure out placement and which way we want it to face and what things we need to think about before setting the hot tub.

It came with a couple of spare filters. He said you can rinse them out and re-use them. There is also an inner filter that has to be replaced periodically. The outside filter does not cover the entire inside filter, do you think that is correct? Seems like the outer filter should cover the full length of the inside filter.

The hot tub was throwing a "flo" error message. I know we will need to research that and repair it.

I have ordered and received the AHHSOME hot tub cleaner and we will be using that to clean it up prior to use.

We will be filling with well water. Do I need to use one of the hose end pre-filters like the "PreFresh Spa and Pool Water Filter"? or are they necessary?

I guess I have a lot of questions.

Basically, what do you wish you would have known before setting your stand alone hot tub.

THANKS for any help!!!
 

santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
660
Santa Cruz, CA
I am a recent used hot tub owner so I can help a little.

Concrete Pad: Make sure it is nice and level - and has a larger space than the hot tub footprint especially on the side you will be getting in out from.
Electrical: The licensed electrician should have all the answers for you as far as Voltage, Panel Size, Wiring etc...
SWCG: I just yesterday bought a Saltron Mini - however I was seriously looking at the ControlOMatic Smarter Spa for the last few months - I just happend to have found a new Saltron on my local Craigslist for $125 and so I couldn't pass that up!

Initial Start Up:
1. Fill the tub once - add the Ahhsome and follow the instructions to do a complete purge (I would suggest more than one purge, but you are on a well...I wish I had done an extra purge on mine). I think their website has good information on doing the purge. EDIT: When adding water with a hose to an empty tub, put the hose down in the filter housing (where you took the filters out from) so that you don't get any air in the lower plumbing system - this will prevent an air lock error when your turn on the pump(s).
1a. This would be a good time to make sure you trouble shoot any problems like the "flo" error message. You don't want to have to fill and drain it again to do any equipment repairs.
1b. Check for leaks - now is the time to fix those as well.
1c. Make sure everything is working correctly, heater, pump, blower, all jets, air valves, light(s) etc...
1d. Remove the filter(s) from the Ahhsome tub water if you did that step - clean out the filter(s) with a hose so that they are extra clean - make sure they do fit correctly. Personally I hate the idea of using an old filter even if it has been cleaned and soaked - they are cheap and so I bought a new one for mine...
2. Drain the tub - wipe down the inside surfaces as it drains. I use some bleach water (or some Ahhhsome water in a squirt bottle) and a high pressure hose to make sure the sides are extra clean - I wiped the interior down with a magic eraser last purge as well. Try to get as much of the water out as possible (shop vac or an air compressor on the jets etc...to clean out any extra water)
3. Install your now clean filters (or new ones)
4. Fill with new water (I would add a pre-filter to help with your well water)
5. Run a full set of tests on your water and adjust water to proper TFP levels - depending on whichever method you will be using - Dichlor+Bleach, Bromine, or a SWCG - Using your TF-100 Test Kit

My steps for balancing my tap water are as follows: (using Pool Math for the exact amounts needed)
a. since my TA is usually 150-170 I first lower the PH to 7.2 with Muriatic Acid
b. add a small amount of bleach to get the FC up to 6ppm
c. add a small amount of CYA in a sock to get to 40ppm
d. Optional - add a small amount of Calcium Chloride to get my water calcium hardness to 250ppm or so (helps prevents foaming in my tub)
e. add the amount of salt to get to 2000ppm - I am currently using "fancy" Himalayan Pink Salt that my wife finds on discount at Marshalls

6. Run the jets on full blast - then after 15-30 minutes check the PH - if it rises to 8 adjust with Muriatic Acid to get it back to 7.2 and repeat again in another 30 minutes. Once the PH settles down and stays stable in the mid 7's you can re-check your TA which should have dropped - I end up with a TA of 50 to keep my PH stable. This can take a while to finally settle down, and I even have to adjust this after several days until it finally gets very stable.
7. Drop in your SWCG
8. Let the water heat up and enjoy your tub...
9. Finally, test your water frequently, daily at first, and then if everything is going well you can probably switch to less frequent testing. You should also purge and drain your tub every 3-4 months (more or less time depending on the amount of use the tub gets).

edit: Hopefully others can help out regarding weather issues for your SWCG - I am in a warm part of California and rarely see even temps below 32° F, so my SWCG at this point will be hung on the outside of my tub.
 
Last edited:

QuiltinMom

Platinum Supporter
Mar 24, 2013
197
Central Iowa
I am a recent used hot tub owner so I can help a little.

Concrete Pad: Make sure it is nice and level - and has a larger space than the hot tub footprint especially on the side you will be getting in out from.
Electrical: The licensed electrician should have all the answers for you as far as Voltage, Panel Size, Wiring etc...
SWCG: I just yesterday bought a Saltron Mini - however I was seriously looking at the ControlOMatic Smarter Spa for the last few months - I just happend to have found a new Saltron on my local Craigslist for $125 and so I couldn't pass that up!

Initial Start Up:
1. Fill the tub once - add the Ahhsome and follow the instructions to do a complete purge (I would suggest more than one purge, but you are on a well...I wish I had done an extra purge on mine). I think their website has good information on doing the purge.
1a. This would be a good time to make sure you trouble shoot any problems like the "flo" error message. You don't want to have to fill and drain it again to do any equipment repairs.
1b. Check for leaks - now is the time to fix those as well.
1c. Make sure everything is working correctly, heater, pump, blower, all jets, air valves, light(s) etc...
1d. Remove the filter(s) from the Ahhsome tub water if you did that step - clean out the filter(s) with a hose so that they are extra clean - make sure they do fit correctly. Personally I hate the idea of using an old filter even if it has been cleaned and soaked - they are cheap and so I bought a new one for mine...
2. Drain the tub - wipe down the inside surfaces as it drains. I use some bleach water (or some Ahhhsome water in a squirt bottle) and a high pressure hose to make sure the sides are extra clean - I wiped the interior down with a magic eraser last purge as well. Try to get as much of the water out as possible (shop vac or an air compressor on the jets etc...to clean out any extra water)
3. Install your now clean filters (or new ones)
4. Fill with new water (I would add a pre-filter to help with your well water)
5. Run a full set of tests on your water and adjust water to proper TFP levels - depending on whichever method you will be using - Dichlor+Bleach, Bromine, or a SWCG - Using your TF-100 Test Kit

My steps for balancing my tap water are as follows: (using Pool Math for the exact amounts needed)
a. since my TA is usually 150-170 I first lower the PH to 7.2 with Muriatic Acid
b. add a small amount of bleach to get the FC up to 6ppm
c. add a small amount of CYA in a sock to get to 40ppm
d. Optional - add a small amount of Calcium Chloride to get my water calcium hardness to 250ppm or so (helps prevents foaming in my tub)
e. add the amount of salt to get to 2000ppm - I am currently using "fancy" Himalayan Pink Salt that my wife finds on discount at Marshalls

6. Run the jets on full blast - then after 15-30 minutes check the PH - if it rises to 8 adjust with Muriatic Acid to get it back to 7.2 and repeat again in another 30 minutes. Once the PH settles down and stays stable in the mid 7's you can re-check your TA which should have dropped - I end up with a TA of 50 to keep my PH stable. This can take a while to finally settle down, and I even have to adjust this after several days until it finally gets very stable.
7. Drop in your SWCG
8. Let the water heat up and enjoy your tub...
9. Finally, test your water frequently, daily at first, and then if everything is going well you can probably switch to less frequent testing. You should also purge and drain your tub every 3-4 months (more or less time depending on the amount of use the tub gets).

edit: Hopefully others can help out regarding weather issues for your SWCG - I am in a warm part of California and rarely see even temps below 32° F, so my SWCG at this point will be hung on the outside of my tub.
WOW, thank you very much. That is extremely helpful. I will be referring to this info when we start to set it up. Hopefully this weekend we will get started with the cement pad and possibly the electrical.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Also, in our Spas and Hot Tubs sub-forum you may find more info you are looking for. Items like:
 
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santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
660
Santa Cruz, CA
Doing a little research - it looks like Sundance has a special two part filter system - looks just like the kind you have - so it appears to be correct.

Here is the Sundance Filtration Link

I would look into getting a new one of those as they are designed to be a finer filter that traps body oils, lotion, and finer particles than a standard pleated filter...

Edit: Here is another page with a few pictures showing the type of filter you have...Looks like there are two filters stacked together.
Spa Filter for Sundance Microclean 1 System 6540-501
 
Last edited:
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QuiltinMom

Platinum Supporter
Mar 24, 2013
197
Central Iowa
Doing a little research - it looks like Sundance has a special two part filter system - looks just like the kind you have - so it appears to be correct.

Here is the Sundance Filtration Link

I would look into getting a new one of those as they are designed to be a finer filter that traps body oils, lotion, and finer particles than a standard pleated filter...

Edit: Here is another page with a few pictures showing the type of filter you have...Looks like there are two filters stacked together.
Spa Filter for Sundance Microclean 1 System 6540-501
THANK YOU!!! I have not found either of those sites yet. I will do some more reading. I haven't taken the old filter off of our hot tub yet and didn't realized it was two pieces side by side. I though the micro filter went completely inside the outer filter. I do remember in my research that I saw one called a "toilet paper" filter. Now I see why they call it that.

THANKS for the links, I have learned so much already and still have a lot to learn.

THANKS for your help!!!